Ryan Young/SEC Country
Florida freshman Emory Jones is viewed by many as the Gators' quarterback of the future.

Florida QB Emory Jones’ HS coaches dish on his true talents; more Gators draft news

Ryan Young

Florida Gators football is the No. 1 topic in Good Morning, Gators every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across the Gators sports world. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Florida football, recruiting, basketball and more.

A deeper look at Emory Jones’ high school feats

With spring practice over and done, SEC Country is on the road this month working on its annual Next Generation series, visiting Florida’s signees and telling the stories of the soon-to-be Gators.

Along the way, we caught up with freshman quarterback Emory Jones’ high school coaches in Franklin, Ga., earlier this week.

Florida’s official bio for Jones has only incomplete stats from his time at Heard County High School, but his coaches shared the full numbers and explained how the Georgia Class-AA program light on depth had to rely on a ball-control offense that didn’t unleash Jones’ full potential.

Still, the Braves got further last season than any other team in program history with Jones as a leading catalyst for that charge.

“He’s by far the best quarterback that’s come through Heard County, and we may not ever get to coach another Emory Jones,” coach Tim Barron told SEC Country.

Read the full story as Barron and Heard County offensive coordinator Randall Curbow offer great insight into the highly touted quarterback many fans now see as the future of Florida’s offense.

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In other Florida football news

  • Running back Mark Thompson is the latest former Florida player to land an undrafted free-agent deal in the NFL. He’ll get his opportunity with the Baltimore Ravens. Read more here.
  • Mock drafts are hardly accurate in the days leading up to the draft, let alone a year out. But they drive conversation nonetheless. ESPN’s Todd McShay released his way-too-early 2019 NFL mock draft on Thursday, and he has Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson going No. 16 overall.

Recruiting roundup

  • SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi takes a closer look at 5-star cornerback Akeem Dent, from West Palm Beach, Fla. He’s a Florida State commit, but he still expects to take a visit to Gainesville. “I can see he’s trying to change the culture, bring new talent in, good recruits,” Dent said of Florida coach Dan Mullen. “He’s got a good vibe.” Read more here.
  • Meanwhile, top-100 recruits Nathan Pickering (defensive end) and Mark-Antony Richards (athlete) tweeted out photos of how they might look if they sign with the Gators:

Surprising basketball news

  • Less than a month after being hired onto Mike White’s Florida basketball staff, Armon Gates is reportedly out and headed to Nebraska. The Chicago Sun Times’ Joe Henricksen broke the news, citing multiple sources saying that White was uncomfortable with the staff he had assembled and that Gates was “blindsided” by the move. That’s one side of the story. Florida has yet to comment on the move.

Florida baseball news

  • No. 1 Florida (36-10, 16-5 SEC) travels to No. 21 Texas A&M (33-12, 11-10) for a three-game series in College Station, Texas, starting Friday.
  • The opener starts at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday on SEC Network-plus, with Florida right-handed pitcher Brady Singer (9-1, 2.62 ERA) and Aggies RHP Mitchell Kilkenny (8-1, 2.12) on the mound.
  • The teams play at 5 p.m. Saturday on SEC Network, with Gators RHP Jackson Kowar (7-2, 2.91) and Texas A&M left-handed pitcher John Doxakis (6-2, 2.86) scheduled to pitch.
  • And the finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN2, with Florida RHP Jack Leftwich (4-1, 3.50) and Aggies RHP Stephen Kolek (4-4, 3.75) on the hill.
  • Florida has won all seven of its SEC series this season and has a three-game lead in the loss column on the next-closest conference team (Arkansas).

Around campus …

  • The Florida women’s lacrosse team has advanced to the Big East Tournament final (yes, Big East) with a 19-8 win over Marquette in the semifinals Thursday. The Gators are seeking their fourth-straight Big East title and will face the winner of Georgetown and Denver on Saturday. Read more here.
  • Three Florida men’s tennis players earned SEC season honors on Thursday. Oliver Crawford was named first-team All-SEC and the SEC Freshman of the Year, Alfredo Perez was also first-team all-conference and Johannes Ingildsen earned second-team honors. Read more here.
  • Meanwhile, six Gators were selected to compete in the NCAA Individual Men’s Tennis Championships. Crawford, Perez and Ingildsen earned at-large selections into the singles competition, while Perez and Ingildsen earned the No. 4 national seed in doubles. The tandem of McClain Kessler/Duarte Vale earned an at-large berth while Crawford and Chase Perez-Blanco earned an alternate spot. The tournament is May 23-28 at Wake Forest Tennis Complex in Winston-Salem, N.C. Read more here.
  • The Florida women’s tennis team will be represented at the NCAA Championships by singles players Anna Danilina and Josie Kuhlman and the doubles team of Danilina and Victoria Emma. The women’s tournament is also at Wake Forest. Read more here.
  • The Florida softball team (44-8, 17-4 SEC) wraps up regular-season conference play with a three-game series at Missouri, starting on Friday. The Gators enter the weekend with a two-game lead on Georgia atop the standings. Read more here.

What they’re saying on Twitter

  • Highly ranked Florida signee Justin Watkins is eager to get to campus:

  • Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson posted a highlight video:

  • Florida basketball player Keith Stone finds himself a de facto veteran on the roster:

  • Here’s a cool stat for Gators fans …

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